The bicycle book

The bicycle book

Dorling Kindersley’s “The bicycle book – History, Manufacturing, Models” pays homage to the popular means of transportation that celebrated its 200th anniversary last year. With more than 550 images of more than 300 models of bicycles from different epochs, the book showcases the entire history of bicycles. It traces revolutionary development from its onset at the beginning of the 19th century to the present day and not only portrays famous classics, but also the latest bicycle developments of our time.


The history of the bicycle

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The brilliantly illustrated chronicle begins with the birth of the bicycle, with the so-called “Running machine”, which was later also known as “Wheels”. The running machines were then used as a substitute for horses and quickly developed into a dream of liberty for the youth. They were later perceived as an extended travel opportunity and used for ‘meeting with the opposite sex’ within the upper class. In the late 1890s, the bicycles became affordable for the first time and entered the lives of the working class. Shortly before the turn of the century, the revenue for stables and horse feed was replaced by the revenue from the bicycle business in the USA. The bicycles had an impact not only on transportation and traffic, but also on independent businesses. For instance, they replaced the golden pocket watch, which was often used as a gift before the wheel was invented. The boom also had an impact on the apparel or recreational industry. The affordable departmental store clothing became the new favourite and the theatres did not inspire a passionate following anymore – people would rather go cycling. The bicycle technology developed rapidly in the late 19th century. It made headways with light steel tubes, new welding techniques, press steel and variable gear shifting, paving the way for the automobile and airplane. Coming to think of it, it is hardly surprising that the first aircraft builders, the Wright brothers, were actually bicycle mechanics.


From the high-wheel bicycle to mountain bikes made of carbon

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Specialized Epic (carbon fibre lugged frame/hardtail MTB), US, 1991, side view-drive side

In its eight chapters, the chronicle really covers everything that can call itself a bicycle. The gamut spans from the early high-wheel bicycles on tandems and recumbent bicycles to mountain bikes made of carbon. The different bicycle models are each presented on the basis of a picture and supplemented with explanatory texts and the most important technical data. The supplementary gallery pages treat you visually with bicycles that are typical for each epoch. Along with many well-known and extraordinary models, the lesser known ones are also taken account of.


Legendary cult wheels and bicycle components

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Kirk precision 1970s

Perhaps you are familiar with the legendary cult wheels “Starley Royal Salvo”, “Bianchi Paris-Roubaix” or “Lotus Type 108”? These are handled meticulously in the book on two double pages and are supplemented with numerous exciting detailed photographs. In addition, you will learn everything about the individual components of a bicycle – right from the frame design to brakes and gears to the correct adjustment of the saddle and handlebars. Alongside the technical aspects, the pages in the book also show the social influence of the bicycle on history and describe how it has transcended into today’s sport equipment, a collector’s choice and lifestyle item from the initial status symbol of the upper classes. You will also learn interesting facts about the largest cycling events such as the legendary Tour de France and the history of the largest bicycle manufacturers.

The bicycle book*


The bicycle book makes for a great gift for all bicycle lovers. Do you wish to gift one such bicycle exactly as described in the book? You can take a spin in our Bicycles category and find the latest models from renowned manufacturers.

And if find yourself wanting to know more about bicycles, do take a look at our magazine. Just recently, we introduced Design bicycles – trends 2018. You might also be interested in posts like: A bike tour with a trendy designer bicycle and Inflite CF SLX by Canyon.

Posted on 11.05.2018

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